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Author Topic: Copyright Issues  (Read 3771 times)
wolfnowl
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« on: December 10, 2007, 03:59:56 PM »
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Hi Folks:

Came across this segment on a recent Photoshop TV podcast, and while I don't sell my images, I thought it might be of interest to some.  On the podcast was an interview with Jack Reznicki (http://www.reznicki.com/), who I believe is the president of the Professional Photographers of America (http://www.ppa.com).

In a nutshell what Jack said was, the moment you click the shutter and make a unique image, you the photographer own the copyright for the image (unless you're a full-time employee, such as for a newspaper).  However, ownership of the copyright basically means nothing unless you register the copyright because in almost all cases it will cost you more to sue someone for copyright violation than you will make from the case.  If you've registered the copyright then it becomes a federal case and the rules change significantly.

There's more information available here: http://www.copyrightdefense.com/

Mike.
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BruceHouston
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2007, 02:24:25 AM »
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In the U.S. you sue in U.S. Federal District Court in any case.  The difference is that the copyright statutes limit damages to a low amount if the copyright is not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.  But it is the case that a copyright arises automatically at the instant that a creative work is recorded in a tangible medium (e.g., image impinges on photographic film or in a memory via a dSLR sensor, a poem is written on a napkin, play-dough is doodled into a sculpture, etc.)

Bruce
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« Last Edit: December 11, 2007, 02:36:23 AM by BruceHouston » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2007, 04:13:23 AM »
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In the U.S. you sue in U.S. Federal District Court in any case.  The difference is that the copyright statutes limit damages to a low amount if the copyright is not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.  But it is the case that a copyright arises automatically at the instant that a creative work is recorded in a tangible medium (e.g., image impinges on photographic film or in a memory via a dSLR sensor, a poem is written on a napkin, play-dough is doodled into a sculpture, etc.)

Bruce
IP Attorney
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But how does anybody, with any sort of image collection, get to register copyright with any legally recognized body? It must be a nightmare to execute - one might have hoped for a less difficult method of showing/proving authorship.

Rob C
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jecxz
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2007, 05:37:54 AM »
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But how does anybody, with any sort of image collection, get to register copyright with any legally recognized body? It must be a nightmare to execute - one might have hoped for a less difficult method of showing/proving authorship.

Rob C
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Rob,

It is extremely easy to register your copyright. Visit www.copyright.gov, use Form VA, read their examples - it takes maybe 10 minutes to fill out the form. You can print your images or send them on CD. If not already, soon they will have electronic registration. It sounds like a lot of work - it isn't. Best advice: speak with an attorney - but don't be put off by this process. Good luck.
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PSA DC-9-30
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2007, 06:03:24 AM »
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What is the per-image cost in time and money to register?
« Last Edit: December 11, 2007, 06:03:40 AM by PSA DC-9-30 » Logged

Chris_T
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2007, 08:57:55 AM »
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There's more information available here: http://www.copyrightdefense.com/

Mike.
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This site does provide good copyright info and legal advice. But it fails to mention that the REAL DEFENSE of a digital file is to minimize the chance of letting one falling into the wrong hands. But if everyone knows how to do that, there will be no business left for the copyright attorneys.

Some cases to consider:

- Web site images: some still post large 300ppi images online.

- Many calls for entries request 300ppi images, and many applicants would bite without asking questions like, "If the images will not be printed for jurying, why is 300ppi necessary?", "If an image is printed for publicity, how will you ensure that the printer will protect the digital file?", "What will happen to the digital files after the jury is completed?"

- Many use services, online or otherwise, for digital scans, digital prints, digital book publishing, digital albums etc. I have yet to come across one such service that states how a submitted or created digital file is protected. It would be somewhat comforting if they can at least state something like, "We own the responsibility of protecting the copyright of your digital files. Unless requested otherwise, we do not archive your digital files and will delete them from our computers after completing your service."

The effort and expense to copyright your work pale in comparison to the effort and expense for hiring a copyright attorney. It is kind of like a lousy insurance policy. Most unauthorized use of digital images are done by those who either know nothing about copyright law or don't respect it. Your insurance premium (i.e. copyright) means nothing to them and will not prevent them from misuse. If you wish to procecute the offenders (assuming you can identify them), you will have to pay a lot more than the premium.

In addition to, or instead of, copyrighting your work, we need more people to speak up and ask the above questions.
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bdkphoto
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2007, 11:14:13 AM »
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Copyright registration is relatively easy, and as a practical matter it is the only was to protect your work from infringement.  There are excellent tutorials at www.asmp.org, and www.editorialphoto.com on the how to's and the Library of Congress copyright site is extremely helpful as well.

You can register 1000's of images at once on CD or DVD, and the copyright office is beta testing online registration.

The above sites have a wealth of info, on the benefits of registration etc...
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Rob C
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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2007, 12:21:06 PM »
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One basic problem might be this: I live in one country, am national of another. Would US copyright registration offer protection to me as Iīm not a US citizen nor do I live in the US?

If registration still doesnīt offer a fairly open-and-shut case of image protection, then it seems to be not a lot more than one further complication in an already over-complicated life-plan! I was joking there - never had a life-plan - it just sort of happens or it does not, despite my best efforts;  sad, but itīs how it works for me.

Rob C
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Steven Draper
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« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2008, 11:48:37 AM »
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Surely in the case of image theft, is there also not a case of can the image user pay the fine.

I'm sure if a big magazine or media company stole an image it would be clear that they would be made to pay if found guilty, but if it was a small organization or individual then then chances may well be much less. In fact it may not even be worth perusing.

We guess that millions of illegal copies of films and music have been made but very rarely do we ever hear of anyone getting into trouble over it. I'm sure millions of "copyrighted" images are dragged from the web and reside on peoples hard drives for personal use. Is that something we should lose sleep over? I certainly don't.

However making commercial gain from ripping an image, that is a different subject and I would be very angry if one of my images turned up in a book or product such as a Jigsaw, advertisement etc.
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image examples are at my website  stevendraperphotography.com   and Polepics is      "Here"
Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2008, 01:38:32 PM »
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Surely in the case of image theft, is there also not a case of can the image user pay the fine.

I'm sure if a big magazine or media company stole an image it would be clear that they would be made to pay if found guilty, but if it was a small organization or individual then then chances may well be much less. In fact it may not even be worth perusing.

We guess that millions of illegal copies of films and music have been made but very rarely do we ever hear of anyone getting into trouble over it. I'm sure millions of "copyrighted" images are dragged from the web and reside on peoples hard drives for personal use. Is that something we should lose sleep over? I certainly don't.

However making commercial gain from ripping an image, that is a different subject and I would be very angry if one of my images turned up in a book or product such as a Jigsaw, advertisement etc.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=165214\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Absolutely, Steven, but the problem is how to stop the rip-off merchants.

I think that relying on law is not any real answer - so many other types of crime already go unpunished that theft of something which to many people, other than the poor old photographer, appears something of little value - a snap? - wonīt raise any temperatures.

There may be a chance for copyright to be fought between giants, but my single attempt at going to law (on another matter where I thought the case was beyond doubt) has convinced me that if you do hire a lawyer, then you are mainly just losing even more money faster.

Rob C
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